I spent my morning attending a funeral service…
We found out on Friday, that someone my husband had in his life as child, had passed earlier in the week. This person was a man who he spent many summers with while his family visited their family cottage. This was a man who my husband learned a lot from as a kid, and looked up to for guidance. This man was a friend.
It has been 30 years since my husband has seen this person. We all grow up and lose touch, life happens. We get married, have children of our own, travel, whatever our lives become, it happens.
I started my morning laying out some clothing options on the bed for my husband to choose from. His suit. A tie. A blazer. Making sure he had something he would feel comfortable in. I also laid some clothes out for me. Funerals are a time to dress nicely as a sign of respect, so needless to say some planning went into our attire.
As I was getting dressed, doing my hair and makeup in the bathroom, my husband started making small comments about going to the service…We don’t have to go…It has been 30 years…This is dumb…Nobody will remember…I never mattered….
I stood in the bathroom with my flat-iron in my hand, and I realized he was nervous. I told him it is his decision, that I am there to support him with whatever he wants to do. The one thing he kept repeating over and over,questioning himself, is this dumb?
We ended up going to the service and walked in. We signed the guest book, hung up our coats, and looked around the room for a familiar face. None was found. My husband’s concerns were validated in that moment. It had been 30 years, and there was not a single face that he recognized from his childhood. We stood off to the side of the room, talking amongst ourselves, his eyes darting about the room, searching for a familiar face. His usual cool and collected demeanor had changed to a self doubting nervousness that I recognize when he feels uneasy. Grabbing for his hand, I get a nervous smile, and he tightens his grip in a way to say thank you.
We continue to stand off to the side as a woman approaches. She holds her hands out to greet my husband. In that moment her eyes light up and she asks uneasily are you a…using his last name. The look of doubt and nerves fades from my husbands face as he confirms who he is. The woman, stunned, grabs him and hugs him. Her hands coddle his face in recognition of the same blue eyed little boy from her childhood. She then calls over to three other women, her sisters, and they are all overwhelmed by my husband’s presence. Hugs are exchanged, laughter, and additional stories from their childhood are the focus of their conversation. Reminiscing of the lake house and summer extravaganzas, they are able to paint vivid pictures of their time growing up.
We parted ways and paid our respects.
We left the church and we went out for brunch. All the while my husband still questioning his decision to go to this service.
I stopped him. I explained to him that it doesn’t matter if it had been 30 years or 30 days since he had seen this man. This man was important to him, and that was all that mattered. Yes time had gone by, but this person was a big part of his life and the feelings of loss and sorrow are normal natural emotions.
Death always sparks a topic of conversation about our own mortality. We never know when it is coming, but we know it is there, looming in the hopefully distant future. We wonder about our lives and what we have accomplished and ponder our existence, questioning if we did enough, saw enough, or gave enough. We ask ourselves if we matter.
There are times we wonder what life would be like if we didn’t exist. Who would really be impacted or care if I were not around? We are quick to answer with a list names we know would have a hard time if we suddenly ceased to exist on this planet. But in the back of our minds, we wonder…
Someone once said
“To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”
I feel like death has a way of reminding us of this fact. We all feel small and insignificant in the larger scheme of things. But who knows what kind of impact we have. There might be one person we have some kind of effect on, good or bad, makes no difference. It is still an effect, and that counts for a lot. We have a lot of power in that sense, so I would say each and every one of us matters quite a bit.
So yes my dear husband, it has been 30 years since you had seen this man. But he had an influence on you, and you probably didn’t realize it until today. From the looks on his daughters faces and the stories you all were sharing…you had an influence on them too.